Rock­ies cool Pi­rates with Mar­quez’s help

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

A “Star Wars”-themed evening at Coors Field al­most turned into a benches-clear­ing brawl be­tween Pitts­burgh and the Rock­ies on Satur­day night.

Al­most.

Fired-up Colorado rookie starter German Mar­quez was smack in the mid­dle of the near-brouhaha, but he was able to keep his poise and pitch seven ster­ling in­nings as the Rock­ies whipped the Pi­rates 7-3. Colorado won for the fifth time in its last six games and halted Pitts­burgh’s sea­son-best, sixgame win­ning streak.

“We are see­ing steady growth from German, but the trick is to keep it go­ing,” Rock­ies man­ager Bud Black said. “He’s done a re­ally nice job his last three starts. He’s feel­ing con­fi­dent and show­ing a great deal of poise. What I am see­ing more than any­thing is com­mand of his break­ing ball.”

The bad blood prob­a­bly started Fri­day night dur­ing Pitts­burgh’s 13-5 rout when the Rock­ies plunked the Pi­rates four times. Blood be­gan to boil in the sixth in­ning Satur­day when Mar­quez hit Pi­rates star cen­ter fielder An­drew Mccutchen, who was vis­i­bly up­set.

Black and Mar­quez both made it clear af­ter the game that Mar­quez did not in­ten­tion­ally hit Mccutchen.

Pi­rates starter Chad Kuhl counter-punched in the sixth, throw­ing in­side on lead­off hit­ter Car­los Gon­za­lez. Gon­za­lez slowly walked to­ward the mound as the benches and bullpens cleared. Heated words were ex­changed and fin­gers pointed. Mar­quez was par­tic­u­larly an­i­mated. Both benches were warned, but there were no ejec­tions.

“Lis­ten, this is a good team as far as hav­ing each other’s backs,” Black said. “They very much have each other’s back and will al­ways.”

Mar­quez came back in the sev­enth to set the Pi­rates down in order to fin­ish his evening strong.

The Rock­ies needed a solid, lengthy start — and Mar­quez de­liv­ered, giv­ing up two runs on just three hits. With his curve­ball carv­ing up the Pi­rates, he struck out nine and walked only two.

“My com­mand was re­ally good tonight,” Mar­quez said. “My sec­ond pitch was re­ally there, and I got a lot of strike­outs with it, so that was re­ally good.”

Closer Greg Hol­land came on in the eighth with two on and two outs and got the danger­ous Josh Bell to line out to a sprint­ing Char­lie Black­mon, who chased down the ball in cen­ter. Al­though the Rock­ies plated two runs in the eighth on an RBI dou­ble by Alexi Amarista and a run-scor­ing sin­gle by DJ Lemahieu, Hol­land re­turned for the ninth. He got him­self into a bases-loaded mess with two walks, gave up a run and threw 34 pitches, but he fin­ished the game by get­ting Josh Har­ri­son to fly out to cen­ter. Hol­land recorded his 31st save in 32 tries.

Colorado’s of­fense was as timely as it was ex­plo­sive.

The Rock­ies nicely strung to­gether four hits in a three-run third. Mar­quez started it all with a one-out sin­gle to cen­ter, fol­lowed by Black­mon’s dou­ble to right. Lemahieu’s sac­ri­fice fly scored Mar­quez, and Nolan Are­nado sliced a dou­ble into the right-field cor­ner to drive in Black­mon. Mark Reynolds’ sin­gle into right­cen­ter scored Are­nado.

Bell’s lead­off homer off Mar­quez in the fourth cut Colorado’s lead to 3-2, but Gon­za­lez dou­bled and scored on Trevor Story’s RBI sin­gle for a 4-2 lead.

Black­mon led off the sev­enth with his 13th triple of the sea­son and scored on Ian Des­mond’s sin­glet, giv­ing Colorado a 5-2 lead.

Jack Dempsey, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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